No Christmas Break for Grinders: NBA Strategy 101
Merry Christmas Grinders! Since there are no games today and since most people won’t be able to play tomorrow due to all of the wonderful Christmas obligations that we all have, I thought I would take a break from making picks and focus on a little strategy. DraftStreet has just announced they’re running some NBA GPP Christmas Specials, one is a $5, $7,500 GPP with Guaranteed Overlay! and the other is a $500 Freeroll. Check out RG’s DraftStreet Review for Initial Deposit Bonus details if you’re not yet a member. I’ve included a few NBA specific topics as well as some general advice that could be helpful to all grinders.
Hand-Picking Your Opponents
While this doesn’t necessarily apply to grinders that play a high volume of games, it is a great tool that lower level grinders can use. If you are just starting out in daily fantasy or have been playing for a while and just can’t seem to win consistently enough to grind out a profit, opponent selection should be at the top of your list as far as how you are spending your time. You can research for 10 hours a day, but if you keep playing the very top players in the industry every day, how are you ever going to expect to get ahead?
Opponent selection can be such an advantage, but not very many people take the time to do it. Instead of just blindly joining leagues and hoping that one of the studs doesn’t join them, take advantage of the tools that are available to you to find some easier opponents. All fantasy sites allow you to see who are in head to head leagues in the lobby, all you have to do is look up the usernames to see how much winnings that user has. The best search is here on Rotogrinders because you can see how much they have been playing lately and it’s broken out by sport. You would be surprised at how many easy matchups there are every day that you could take, all you have to do is be patient and spend a little more of your time researching your opponents instead of just researching your team.
Bankroll Management & Patience
Whether you are new to daily fantasy sports or have been playing for years, one of the hardest things to do is to manage your bankroll. This is one of the biggest questions out there and probably one of the most important. How many sites should you play on? How much of your bankroll should you be spending each day? What percentage of funds should be played in head to heads compared to GPP’s?
These are all great questions and the answers are different depending on the player. The one piece of advice that I can give about bankroll management is to be smart about it. Never play more than 25% of your bankroll on any given night, if you start going all in each night or even betting half of your bankroll every night, you will eventually have a bad night and lost it all. I would also say to never bet more after a bad night. While it can be tempting to bet more to try to win back your losses from the night before, it’s a bad way to play. Instead, play more when you win because then if you lose, you can at least afford to lose. The best thing about daily fantasy is that you get to pick a whole new team each day, so have patience and don’t try to bet all that you have on one night.
As far as how many sites to play on, that’s really up to you. If you have the time to research 5 different sites salaries every day, then go for it. But if you are just an average player that doesn’t have all day to make teams, I would suggest sticking to your favorite one or two sites.
Daily fantasy basketball is different from other sports because in basketball, minutes equal production. This makes injury news the most critical factor when putting together a team each day. While you can argue that matchups and splits play a role, injuries are by far the most important research that you can do every day. If you are the one guy that doesn’t see that Kevin Love is out and everyone else picks Nikola Pekovic and Dante Cunningham (yesterday’s example), you will be behind the eight ball before the games even start.
While the importance of injuries is pretty common information to grinders, everyone may not have the best available information. If you want to go to one site for all of your injury updates and analysis, then you can’t go wrong with Rotoworld. This is probably where I would guess around 50% of users get their information. While RW usually isn’t the quickest site at getting injury news up, they do provide good analysis as to who will pick up extra minutes and extra production when someone is injured.
If you don’t need that extra analysis and still only want to check one site, I would recommend Rotoinfo player updates. Injuries are usually posted a few minutes before Rotoworld and they sometimes catch injuries that Rotoworld lets slip through the cracks. While those sites are good, time is of the essence in daily fantasy basketball and a 5 minute delay on injury news could cost you if it is close to tipoff. For my money, the best place to check injury news is on Twitter. If you have an account, all you have to do is follow the beat writers from each of the teams. To find the beat writers, just google “Bulls beat writer Twitter” for each team and you can follow all of them. While I do check Rotoinfo and Rotoworld just to be safe, Twitter is by far the fastest.
Finding Value – NBA
This correlates with injuries, but other factors also come in to play. Finding value can be tough and to me, value applies to all players, not just cheap sleeper picks. I’ve found that a good way to help you spot value is to set up a system that has a goal for your team and for each of your players. In order to do this, you first have to determine what a good score is on the site you are playing on. This should be a score that would win on most nights, but that is not too high that it is not achievable.
For instance, the goal that I use for my team each night on Draftstreet 250 points. Once you determine your goal, you can divide that by your total salary that you have to spend on all players ($100,000 in this case). This will give you an idea of how much you need each $1,000 of salary to score. For DS, this works out to be 2.5 fantasy points for every $1,000 of salary. That means that if a guy costs $10,000, I need him to score 25 fantasy points in order for him to cover his share of his salary. This may sound a bit confusing, but once you get the hang out of, it becomes second nature. Just take a player’s salary, times it by 2.5, and that’s how many points you need him to score.
Setting up a system like this can help you find value and can help you determine if a player is worth taking that night. This is especially useful on a site like Draftstreet that constantly updates their salaries, because you may like Chris Paul matchup, but if he is $18,000, you may not think he can score 45 fantasy points so he might not be worth taking.
The system is certainly not perfect and you can rarely expect the expensive players to score enough to cover their value. In general, you need to expect something like 3 times the salary for cheaper players, and 2 times the salary for more expensive players.
Use the Tools Available to You
In addition to injuries, there is plenty of other research that you can do to help you put together a good team. If you haven’t used the tools on Rotogrinders yet, check them out. There are daily plays that are written every day. Dan puts out a great podcast every day that always has great insight for that night’s games. Then you also have all of the tools under the Daily Research tab. There are projections, bargain picks, and statistics all at your fingertips. My favorite tool is the Defense vs. Position tool which shows you which teams give up the most fantasy points to each position.
And Finally, Don’t Get Too High or Too Low
Daily fantasy sports are very up and down. You pick a new team every single day and you can’t expect to win them all. When you win, don’t get too happy, and when you lose, don’t get too down. Daily fantasy sports is meant to be played day in and day out and you have to expect both wins and losses along the way. Look at your wins and losses on a week to week basis or on a month to month basis. Being overly concerned about how you do every single night is going to stress you out and make you crazy. I can’t tell you how many of my buddies get too wrapped up in their teams each night and let it completely affect their moods. They end up playing the “If I just would have picked this guy over this guy” game all night long, but you have to realize that once leagues lock, you can’t change your picks so there is no use stressing out about what could have been. Just take your result and move on and pick a new team tomorrow.